December 13, 2001

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I think I could quite possibly run a marathon, or at least get several miles into one after just one weekend in training. If nothing else, I sure could have used one of those high tech foot massagers because my poor puppies were dragging. The saying is walk a mile in someone else's shoes, well if anyone else had been in my boots this weekend they would have walked a whole heck of a lot more than just one measly mile.

My weary trek began with a quick getaway for just about 90 minutes of bird hunting before a scheduled family get-together. I was not expecting to have the free time, but when it was announced that the start time had been delayed I quickly sneaked out the back door and was off. I had been complaining that I had not really had a chance yet to bird hunt so I grasped the opportunity.

Lets just say that may not have been my wisest decision. I think the dogs were as excited to be there as I was. But as we wandered further and further without even a hint of a quail or pheasant we all began to become frustrated. I later compared it to taking children to the toy store the week before Christmas and not taking along your wallet. We were simply window browsing. After a while of not purchasing any presents for anyone and those kids are going to turn on you. That's exactly what my dogs did. First they chased up a pair of turkeys and gave me nasty looks when I did not shoot. After that it was a small buck deer. An hour of no excitement at all and the dogs deserted me and chased after the critter and followed him across the bottom. No amount of cussing or firing my gun into the ground would bring them back. Oh well I was ready to go home anyway, so I trudged back to the Jeep and honked the horn for a few minutes. Those mutts had the nerve to show themselves on the backside of the farm and they laid down on the edge of the field and made me drive over and pick them up.

No birds, lousy dog behavior and knowing I was about an hour late for my scheduled departure, yet I still maintained my composure and quickly loaded the mutts with hardly a word.

Now if that is not enough to earn me a halo, this next part of my marathon definitely should earn me saintly comparisons. The previously mentioned outing was a scheduled trip to Columbia for a family get-together. Every year we all meet in the middle of Missouri and spend a weekend together, swimming at the hotel pool, eating big feasts and simply having a good time. Well this year it seems like the word had gotten out that the ladies planned to do a little shopping while we were there. Apparently I was the lone sucker, I mean spouse, that did not get the secret message from the brother-in-laws, because I was the only poor sap that made the trip. One was "working on his house" while the other two had college finals to study for. Even my father-in-law left me hanging out to dry, as he could not make it until Saturday evening because he had to load out grain. So conveniently they all missed what might go down as the longest day of my life. Brace yourself and if you have a weak stomach you may need to look away, I went shopping, the lone male among seven women (including three young children). All I was missing was the suit and little blue cap or I'm sure I could have passed as a top-notch chauffeur.

I need to clarify something here, because when I say shopping that may not be the correct term. When I go "shopping" I go to the store with a specific item or two in mind to purchase. I quickly locate these items, get to the check out line and return home. Now this "shopping trip" was just the opposite. These women spent hours drifting from store to store and really all they did was look. How in the world can you spend all that time in all those stores yet really not buy anything? What is the fun in that? It's sort of like going bird hunting around here, it's all window

shopping, and all you get out of it is sore feet and your hunting or shopping party all mad at you because you don't have the patience to handle it all.

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